by Melinda Hattingh – DA Northern Cape Provincial Spokesperson for Transport, Safety and Liaison
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Date: 01 October 2018
The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Northern Cape is calling on the MECs of Transport, Safety and Liaison, Lebogang Motlhaping, and Social Development, Gift Van Staden, to urgently escalate the management of social grants and the renewal of Motor Vehicle Licenses (MVL), to a national level for urgent attention. This is in order to address the chaotic state of service delivery at Kimberley’s highly understaffed and ill-equipped post office.
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During an oversight inspection to the Kimberley Post Office today, it was apparent that while provision has now been made for bulk renewals of MVLs, which was not previously available, grant beneficiaries are bearing the brunt of the overburdened service. It is especially the elderly, sick and disabled who are worst affected by the bottleneck caused by the transfer of additional competencies to the post office. They have to walk to the Magistrate’s Court, situated behind the Post Office, to make use of the public toilets.
The long queues for grant recipients are aggravated by the fact that two of the five post office employees are allocated to MVL, meaning that there are only two to three staff members, when not on teabreak or lunch, to handle grant payments. The fifth staff member is responsible for general post office duties.
Due to a shortage of personnel to manage the grants, grant recipients therefore have to stand in line for almost two hours before even reaching a chair to sit on.
It is clear that the transfer of grants and motor vehicle licenses to the post office are doing little to improve accessibility and are instead causing undue frustrations amongst residents. The transfer will undoubtedly also result in staff burn out, if additional staff are not employed and additional work stations are not established at the post office as a matter of urgency.
The DA notes the commitment made by an official today that the post office would soon receive at least two additional staff members, who are still undergoing training, and one extra computer to assist with bulk licensing, which will ultimately free up more personnel for grant payments. The inability to provide a definite date of employment, however, is cause for concern.
There can be no denying that the Kimberley Post Office is in dire need of infrastructure, trained staff and efficient tools of trade to minimise frustrations and waiting periods for all people who must make use of the Kimberley Post Office, which must service the majority of grant recipients from Galeshewe and Mankurwane, as well as all Kimberley residents for renewals of MVL’s.
The DA will ask the respective MEC’s to escalate the matter to national government for urgent attention.
Only change under a DA-led government will ensure that post office services are effective and do not add to the hardships that especially the poorest of the poor have to endure.
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